New book, new baby, new hobby–February 10, 2024

As we prepare to welcome THE MIGHTY POLLINATORS in just a few weeks, I am busy with preparations for school and library visits and in-person conferences. After a cold and icy winter interval, it will be wonderful to be out and about again, meeting readers of all ages. And perhaps with this one, meeting gardeners as well, encouraging them to plant gardens with the intention of helping pollinators.

Can anything be better than welcoming a new book? Well, yes, actually, there is something: A new baby! Born on Christmas Eve in Austin, Texas, a little grandson to celebrate and cherish.

As if it’s an integral part of this new identity, I am taking a crochet class, and enjoying the delights and challenges of learning something new. Initially I found it confusing and frustrating, but after a few weeks, I have learned enough basics that it’s becoming fun. Sometimes I make a mistake and look at it, thinking, “Oh, that’s how you do that!” (Unintentionally learning a new stitch.) I’m finding that crocheting is something like writing–one word/one stitch at a time leads to a pattern I may have been trying to achieve, or it may lead to something unplanned and intriguing, possibly even beautiful.

Learning something new always reminds me of the years I spent as a teacher–when I can’t do something everyone else seems to be picking up easily, I remember children in my classrooms who were learning to read and write, and sometimes seemed baffled at the ease with which others could master those mysterious skills. Such memories encourage me to keep at it, whatever the current challenge may be.